For someone living in Metro Manila, Puerto Galera, being 4 to 5 hours away, would qualify as one of the easiest-to-reach destinations.
For many, it’s the last on their list of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. It may be true that fine white sand and blue water have been everyone’s standards, but what it lacks on the surface has been compensated by Puerto Galera’s underwater treasures.
It has been three years since the last time I visited Puerto Galera. After traveling to over 50 destinations around the Philippines, I wouldn’t deny that Galera would not make it to the top. But when it comes to the underwater world, believe me, this site is amazing.
Traveling to Oriental Mindoro from Manila is easy and convenient. From any point in Manila, take a bus to Pasay, or Cubao, then ride on another bus going to Batangas Pier. Fare ranges from PHP165-180 (US$3). Travel time is 2-3 hours depending on the traffic. Once you arrive at Batangas Pier, you will hear people shouting White Beach or Puerto Galera. Just follow where the crowd goes.
I find the ticketing area a bit annoying. There are people who insist on assisting you in booking a seat when in fact, it was easy even without their help. I recommend going directly to the ticketing booth.
Buy a round-trip ticket to save money. A round-trip ticket costs PHP500 (US$10). You will also pay the terminal fee which is PHP30 (US$0.59). Travel time is 1-2 hours depending on which port the ferry will dock.
Upon arriving at the port, pay PHP50 (US$1) for the environmental fee. Then, choose where to stay. Sabang is where foreigners usually go to, while locals choose Muelle and White Beach.
Many companies offer scuba diving in Puerto Galera. But, why should you choose Scuba for Change? It’s simple. It is making a difference. Scuba for Change is a not-for-profit dive center with a mission to employ, train and educate locals around the area. Half of the company’s earnings is going to help support Stairway Foundation, a charity organization whose work and programs aim to prevent child exploitation in the Philippines.
Scuba for Change aims to open dive centers across the country. They train and employ locals who will eventually run the centers.
We visited Stairway Foundation before scuba diving. The foundation is located in front of Tamaraw Beach Resort. I was impressed the moment I stepped into the foundation. The ambiance made me feel like I was a resort, unlike charitable institutions I visited in Manila. It was established in 1990 by Lars C. Jorgensen and Monica D. Ray as an alternative program for the marginalized and street children in the Philippines.
Their residential program is open for 10- to 14-year-old boys. The foundation carefully assesses them who come from various rehabilitation centers in the country. It’s a 10-month program wherein children are engaged in non-formal education, creative therapy, psychosocial interventions, livelihood skills, training, sports, and recreation.
The SFI program focuses on increasing awareness about the right of children. If you wish to support their advocacy, please click on this link.
When I woke up the next day, I was excited to have my first scuba dive. I felt nervous before our practice in the pool. The Scuba for Change team gave us a briefing and explained the entire activity. The tank looked intimidating, but I remained calm as I practiced the basic skills in the pool. Thanks to their staff who patiently taught and assisted us during the pool practice. You made us comfortable in the water.
I’m a big fan of the underwater world that’s why I make sure that I do freediving from time to time, but it was my first time to scuba dive. And I super loved it!
I love exploring the world beneath the water’s surface. It’s magical! This time, with the help of an oxygen tank, I was able to interact with other life forms for much longer. It was so exhilarating that I came to the point that I didn’t want the diving session to end.
So, how can you make a difference? Our group called “Day Dreamers” which is headed by Laarni De Lara has partnered with Scuba for Change to help the center gain more funds, so they can continue helping others. We have an ongoing fundraising activity to continuously inspire people while they create positive and lasting legacies. The money that will be collected will be given to Stairway foundation.
If you wish to be a certified diver, please join our activity by buying a raffle ticket worth PHP100. This will give you a chance to win the grand prize of an open water or advance open water certification, or the any of the following consolation prizes: 2x – 4 Boat Dive Package, 3x – 2 boat Dive Package and 3x Discover Scuba Diving. Lucky winners will be announced on April 29, 2017.
If you wish to buy tickets, please coordinate with Lara through firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you support this project and together, let’s make a positive impact on our environment. At the same time, we can change the lives of hundred underprivileged children and the whole society.
We also would like to Thank Mr. Victor Birman, the man behind monkey speak coffee for hosting our dinner partnered with Monkey’s Peak pure 100% Arabica coffee drink.
Their coffee is sourced from the best specialty coffee growers around the world and imported directly from the expert roasters. They are also working with coffee farming partners on a product line to be produced in the Philippines from the highest quality specialty – Arabica and Liberica (Barako) beans naturally grown right here.
I’m honestly not a coffee lover but I absolutely love their coffee when I tasted it. I swear that it can match the leading coffee providers in the country. If you are interested in partnering with them whether for business or personal use. You could definitely reach them through this link.